An Old Rickshaw Puller, a poem by Arjun Dhungana at

An Old Rickshaw Puller

An Old Rickshaw Puller

written by: Arjun Dhungana

translated by: Suman Pokhrel


The sun of destiny flashed never
on his forehead,
never lit the lamppost of his heart undying
with the eyes that glitter every moment
the old rickshaw puller, together with the dawn
arrives to be positioned before the Sahuni’s shop
and sings his song –

“The morning has arrived at your door
and so am I, with money in my pouch
let me have a cup of tea n’ fun
the road of being is hard to walk on
life is alive at this second,
in a moment, it may be dead”

The dawn has come to the road
by leaving the warm slumbers right at the beds
and is on a walk to paint colors around
asks the rickshaw puller as it sees him-

“will you take me to the college?”
“hey rickshaw, will you go to hospital?”
“rickshaw, going market?”

Many of those students might have completed their study
many of those patients might have recovered from their illness
and all of those shopping might have entered into homes,
but, how many people would know his name?

How many times
would the wheels of the rickshaw have
revolved around the age of that work-hero,
the sun has turned his body to coal tar
the flowing sweat has turned his face to a drain,
and who, the whole day, carries the city arduously
by stretching the veins, elongated
From forehead to calf
like a mess of power wire?

By tying up the squares of roads that
are skipping to the music of chaos
by taking the rushing shadows to their destinations,
being oneself the dust, in dust
converting oneself to mud, in mud,
attuning the khak khak khak of cough
with kat kat kat noise of rickshaw;
for what
would that rickshaw puller get his sweat spilled
more than the amount of water he drinks?

Where would be the home of that rickshaw puller
who, mocking the sun that sleeps under the rug of darkness
whispering to the insomniac stars that stare downwards,
plays with winds till midnight?

“dishonest, you became

numbers of potholes are there on the road
price of goods are hiking to burn
dishonest, you became
dishonest, you became

you take all, cash and the coin
you sell water, telling it wine
dishonest, you became
dishonest, you became

you took my heart, how did you mow?
where did you go leaving me alone?
dishonest, you became
dishonest, you became”

Drunk at midnight
pulling the rickshaw leisurely,
to whom to listen
is this rickshaw puller singing his song?

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